Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence Geotechnical Science and Engineering


  1. CGSE researchers receive ARC linkage funding for boosting the strength of railway tracks

    Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the Turnbull Government’s $1.875 million commitment for research into strengthening railway tracks at the CGSE node Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering (University of Wollongong) is among the first projects to be funded under the new Linkage Projects scheme. Minister Birmingham said the Linkage Projects scheme was a direct response to the country’s “appalling” reputation internationally for collaboration between industry and higher education researchers where the OECD ranks Australia last out of all 33 participating countries for collaboration by large firms.  “When researchers and businesses come to the Government with strong proposals that will clearly deliver real benefits for industry and Australians, we want to be able to green light them as quickly as possible,” Minister Birmingham said. ( source:

    Distinguished Professor Buddhima Indraratna will be leading a research team at the University of Wollongong in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, Infra Tech, the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI), Geoharbour Group, Coffey Geotechnics and SMEC, to determine underlying causes of a process known as ‘mud pumping’ which is highly destructive to railway lines. Fast heavy haul operations (such as loads used in mining and agriculture) impart repeated loads on the ground underneath the railway line, which can cause holes and other deformations of the ground, leading to serious damage of tracks and the immediate suspension of rail operations. The problem occurs particularly in areas where the ground is waterlogged, and causes millions of dollars damage to Australia’s 33,000km rail network every year.

    Thanks to the Australian Government, through an ARC Linkage Projects scheme grant worth $675,000, as well as significant additional cash and in-kind support from five partner organisations, an experimental program and field study will be undertaken to understand the mechanisms of mud pumping, and the role of vertically installed drains will be quantified for improved practical design.  The project aims to contribute to improved track longevity and reduced maintenance costs, with a corresponding boost in rail productivity.  (source: and )

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  2. CGSE researchers win 2 awards in the 2016 ICE Publishing Awards

    CGSE academics have been recognised for their high quality research publications in the 2016 Institution of Civil Engineers Publishing Awards.COFS-150225-54

    Dr Yinghui Tian, Prof Mark Randolph and Prof Mark Cassidy received the David Hislop Award for the best offshore paper in Géotechnique. Their paper, Analytical solution for ultimate embedment depth and potential holding capacity of plate anchors, is now available to download free of charge here. The paper proposes an analytical approach to evaluate the ultimate embedment depth and holding capacity that plate anchors can potentially achieve.

    Dr Shiaohuey Chow, Dr Conleth O’Loughlin and Prof Christophe Gaudin, along with co-authors Mr Riccardo Corti and Dr Andrea Diambra from the University of Bristol were awarded the Telford Premium award for their paper in Géotechnique Letters.  The paper, Drained cyclic capacity of plate anchors in dense sand: experimental and theoretical observations, provides experimental evidence and proposes a macro-element theoretical model that shows and explains that the drained cyclic capacity of a plate anchor in dry, dense sand may be higher than the equivalent monotonic capacity. Dr Diambra will be visiting COFS later this month to strengthen the collaboration that led to this award winning paper.

    The ICE Publishing Awards acknowledge the best work published in ICE journals. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in London in October. The full list of award winners can be viewed at ICE Publishing Awards 2016.

    Image: Dr Conleth O’Loughlin and Dr Shiaohuey Chow

  3. Australian-Korean collaboration addressing geotechnical challenges

    JINS0445The grant aims to enhance collaboration between Australia and Korea to improve the design of drilling rig and wind turbine foundation systems.

    During the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between COFS and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. (DSME). The team also had productive meetings with Samsung Heavy Industries, Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd., POSCO Steel Solution, and Woodside Energy Ltd.

    Dr Hossain and his UWA colleagues were hosted on a tour of the DSME Shipyard at Okpo, Geoje city. Mi Mo (Woodside) and Juan Zhang, Hyo-Jin Lee (Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) also attended the shipyard tour with UWA researchers.

    In a grand program (telecasted by Korean Broadcasting System and reported in Korean newspapers), a MoU was signed between COFS and Geoje City, and a second MoU was signed between COFS and the Geoje Chamber of Commerce. Honourable Mr Minho Kwon, Geoje City Mayor, and Richard Fogarty, Counsellor (Education and Science/Australian Embassy Korea) were present, along with Mi Mo, Juan Zhang, Hyo-Jin Lee and other delegates from DSME.

    Following the time in Geoje City, Dr Youngho Kim led a 2 week collaborative research visit with Korean Institutes. COFS PhD students Kuntan Chang and Minjung Jun and Research Associate Ryan Beemer carried out 3 sets of dynamic centrifuge tests at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and also attended a numerical simulation seminar at Seoul National University (SNU).

    Australian-Korean collaboration to address geotechnical challenges in oil and gas extraction and renewable wind energy harvesting (AKF2015Grant0044) is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

    Image: The delegation visiting DSME

  4. UOW Rail Expert Receives Top Honour at Combined ARA and RTSA Awards Dinner

    Buddhima Indraratan RTSA AwardGeotechnical engineering and rail infrastructure expert Professor Buddhima Indraratna received the most prestigious award at the combined Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA) Gala |Dinner and Awards Night held at the NSW Parliament House. Prof |Indraratna received this most prestigious honour within the Australasian Railway Community from the State Minister for |Transport and Infrastructure, Hon. Andrew Constance (see Photo).

    The RTSA Individual Award is offered annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the railway industry. RTSA is a joint Technical Society of Institution of Engineers Australia and Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, formed to further the interests of the railway industry at large and its individual participants. It was established as a non-profit organization in 1997 for the purpose of promoting the co-operation of academic, industrial, commercial and governmental organizations in relation to the practice and advancement of railway technology and management predominantly in Australia and New Zealand.

    The 2015 RTSA Individual Award was received by Prof. Indraratna in recognition of his overall career achievement in providing an engineering and technical service to the wider railway community both nationally and internationally, innovation of his research outcomes, the degree of autonomy in which he currently operates and the quality and appropriateness of publications that have been presented in high quality journals and reputed international conferences. Through this prestigious award RTSA acknowledged the impact he has made to rail industry worldwide thereby influencing the technical standards and rail practices with respect to track design, as well as construction and maintenance through both fundamental and applied research. In particular, the award clearly acknowledged his efforts which have revolutionised track infrastructure in terms of design innovations and extended longevity, enabling faster trains carrying heavier loads.

    Professor Indraratna, who founded the Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering at the University of Wollongong, is also a Program Leader of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering that focuses on Transport |Infrastructure as a major theme.

    Congratulations to Prof. Indraratna for being the 2015 RTSA Individual Award Winner.

  5. Scott Sloan named NSW Scientist of the Year

    We are absolutely delighted that Laureate Professor Scott Sloan has been awarded NSW Scientist of the Year tonight at the Inaugural Premier’s Prizes for Science and Engineering.

    Laureate Professor Sloan, who leads the Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering at UON, is a pioneer of new methods that enable engineers to predict the collapse states of geostructures such as tunnels, dams, highways and foundations. These methods have delivered a new tool for engineers to design cheaper and safer civil infrastructure across the globe.

    Laureate Professor Scott Sloan said he was thrilled at the news and highlighted it was a reflection of the quality of the research work in geotechnical engineering that has been achieved at UON over the past 30 years.

    “Being named NSW Scientist of the Year continues a great year of acknowledgment of my career and research. It also acknowledges the great geotechnical team at Newcastle, who leads the world in its field and is home to a number of outstanding researchers of all ages,” Laureate Professor Sloan said.

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  6. CGSE Researchers Awarded Australia-Korea Foundation Grant

    CGSE researchers from the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) have been awarded a grant from the Australia-Korea Foundation (AKF) in thTesting on a bucket foundatione Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The grant is to widen and deepen ongoing collaborations between COFS and Korean three academic institutes and three industries to address geotechnical challenges in oil and gas extraction and renewable wind energy harvesting. This project will use numerical and physical modelling to improve spudcan shapes for drilling rigs, and bucket foundations for wind turbines.

    Project Lead Investigator, Dr Shazzad Hossain says “We are very grateful to AKF for this funding as it provides COFS students and researchers with the opportunity to engage with Korean based institutes and industries”.

    The Korean partners in the project are:

    • Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
    • Kongju National University (KNS)
    • Seoul National University (SNU)
    • Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Eng. Co. Ltd.
    • Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd.
    • POSCO Steel Solution

    COFS researchers will visit these partners’ shipyards and other facilities,  use their testing equipment to carry out some joint venture tests, and share expertise. Results of the research will be submitted to leading engineering journals for publication.

    A/Prof Muhammad Shazzad Hossain is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    Image: Testing on a bucket foundation in a beam centrifuge.

    Media Enquiries: Dr Shazzad Hossain, +61 8 6488 7358

  7. Mark Cassidy named WA Scientist of the Year

    Professor Mark Cassidy, has been named WA Scientist of the Year 2015 at the Premier’s Science Awards in Perth.

    Professor Cassidy, Deputy Director of the CGSE and Director of COFS, is a distinguished civil engineer whose research has underpinned the safe and economic construction of oil and gas platforms in our oceans. His advice has been incorporated into the design of platform and pipeline infrastructure currently being constructed off the coast of Western Australia.  As an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, Professor Cassidy’s research seeks solutions to unlock the vast reserves of stranded gas in our remote and deep oceans, where the geotechnical response of the seabed sediment is poorly understood.

    CGSE researcher Dr Scott Draper was a finalist for the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year.

    The CGSE congratulates Professor Cassidy and Dr Draper on their achievements.

  8. Dr Shiaohuey Chow receives grant to investigate plate anchor behaviour in sand

    CGSE academic Dr Shiaohuey Chow has received a University of Western Australia Research Collaboration Award to collaborate with Dr Andrea Diambra of The University of Bristol. The project “Plate Anchors for Offshore Renewable Energy Application: Predicting Cyclic Behaviour in Sand” will use centrifuge and numerical modelling to investigate the behaviour of plate anchors in sandy soils.plate anchor

    Plate anchors have traditionally been used in hydrocarbon exploration to moor large floating structures in deep water clayey soils, but they also provide a promising anchoring solution for the shallow, sandy seabeds typically associated with renewable energy devices.

    This new research project will use centrifuge modelling to understand the undrained cyclic capacity of plate anchors in sand. Once the results of the centrifuge modelling have been established, Dr Chow and Dr Diambra will use the University of Bristol’s hardening memory surface (HSM) model to develop and validate a macro-element model that will simulate the progressive deformation and strength changes induced by cyclic loads on plate anchors.

    Offshore renewable energy sources have the potential to contribute to meeting increasing global energy demand, and government targets for clean energy.